JP2005529411A - Centralized management of packaging data using rule-based content verification - Google Patents

Centralized management of packaging data using rule-based content verification Download PDF

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Publication number
JP2005529411A
JP2005529411A JP2004512047A JP2004512047A JP2005529411A JP 2005529411 A JP2005529411 A JP 2005529411A JP 2004512047 A JP2004512047 A JP 2004512047A JP 2004512047 A JP2004512047 A JP 2004512047A JP 2005529411 A JP2005529411 A JP 2005529411A
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packaging
data
record
template
rules
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JP2004512047A
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シャノン・エム・ジンマーマン
ジョゼフ・アール・ベクテル
マイケル・アール・ホールデイン
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スリーエム イノベイティブ プロパティズ カンパニー
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Priority to US10/167,968 priority Critical patent/US20030229543A1/en
Application filed by スリーエム イノベイティブ プロパティズ カンパニー filed Critical スリーエム イノベイティブ プロパティズ カンパニー
Priority to PCT/US2003/015858 priority patent/WO2003105047A2/en
Publication of JP2005529411A publication Critical patent/JP2005529411A/en
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/08Logistics, e.g. warehousing, loading, distribution or shipping; Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement or balancing against orders
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/06Buying, selling or leasing transactions
    • G06Q30/0601Electronic shopping

Abstract

The Central Packaging Data (CPD) management system provides an online environment where customers manage packaging data for their products. This CPD management system delivers packaged data to remote manufacturing sites, printing centers or other output locations in a secure manner so that customers can print output that is applied to the products they package and the products they produce. Make the material easily controllable. The CPD management system includes various features for applying business rules that automate the generation and verification of packaging materials.

Description

  The present invention relates generally to manufacturing technology, and more particularly to labeling for packaging and the production of other printing materials.

  Each year, multiple organizations ranging from private companies to large companies produce and distribute (or ship) various products in large quantities. Various labels and other printed packaging are typically attached to the products and the containers in which they are delivered. Since each product may use a different container, it requires printed packaging with different sizes and shapes. In addition, the manufactured product may involve multiple packaging levels from the time the product leaves the production line until it is delivered. In addition, as in the health care (or medical) and pharmaceutical industries, the format and content of labels at each level may be strictly regulated.

  Large companies may use many different software tools for creating and printing labels, such as graphics design and layout packaging. Adjusting the various packaging materials used throughout the organization to ensure compliance with labeling regulations across all products can be an important challenge for the organization.

  In general, the present invention relates to technology for centralized management, construction (assembly), and delivery of packaging data. A centralized packaging data (CPD) management system provides host computer-side packaging data for multiple customers and an online environment that customers use to manage packaging data for their products Describe the system. Customers interact with the CPD management system to build packaging data and deliver the packaging data to each remote manufacturing site, printing center or other output location while maintaining security. Thus, the system allows customers to easily control the printed output material that attaches to their packaged and manufactured products.

  The CPD management system includes various features for applying a plurality of business rules for automating the generation and verification of packaging materials. In particular, the CPD management system provides an interface for automatically retrieving and retrieving regulatory and compliance information from external data sources such as multiple regulatory agencies, multiple deliverers, and foreign customs. The rules engine applies rules to verify the contents of labels or other packaging materials, thereby ensuring compliance with regulations. In addition, customers can create additional rules to establish that packaging materials meet their specific requirements.

  In addition, the CPD management system allows customers to easily customize and select multiple packaging templates for rapid construction of packaging data based on multiple regulations. Customers can organize the templates hierarchically and organizationally to reflect the requirements for their specific tasks. Thus, the CPD management system provides an intelligent packaging data warehouse, where customers can create, verify and deliver packaging data for labels and other packaging materials associated with products. And interact with the packaging data warehouse.

  In one embodiment, the system includes a set of packaging records and associated packaging data for a plurality of products, and a rules engine that validates the packaging records and associated data according to a set of rules.

  In another embodiment, the media is a set of packaging records for a plurality of products and associated packaging data for a plurality of customers, and data for creating a packaging record in response to input from the customers. And a set of reusable packaging templates having fields. The medium further includes a set of rules for validating the packaging record.

  In another embodiment, the system includes a template manager software interface for creating and managing a set of reusable packaging templates for multiple customers. Here, the template manager software interface registers a plurality of packaging templates for a plurality of nodes defined by the customer in order to systematically configure the packaging templates. The system further includes a record manager software interface for creating and managing a set of packaging records based on the packaging template. Here, the record manager software interface presents a subset of the packaging templates based on the hierarchical relationship of the packaging templates.

  In another embodiment, the method hierarchically associates a set of reusable packaging templates having a plurality of data fields and a subset of packaging templates to a user based on the hierarchical relationship of the packaging templates. Selectively presenting. The method further includes selecting one of the presented packaging templates in response to input from the user and generating a packaging record that associates the packaging data with the fields of the selected packaging template.

  In another embodiment, an online packaging data management system includes a means for centrally recording a plurality of packaging templates and a plurality of packaging records for a plurality of customers, a means for associating packaging data with the packaging templates, and a packaging requirement. And means for validating the packaging record and associated packaging data according to a set of rules defining conditions. The system further includes means for controlling updates to the packaging template and the packaging record, and means for printing the packaging material at the output location according to the packaging record.

  These and other embodiments, including other systems, methods, and computer-readable media that store instructions and data, are described below in the specification and claims.

  The present invention may provide one or more advantages. For example, customers can develop a common management process that spans multiple business units and multiple manufacturing sites, thereby eliminating the inherent redundancy and inefficiency of decentralized processes (distributed processes). Can be mentioned.

  Customers can, for example, generate and manage standardized graphics for a variety of business units, which allows companies to maintain the consistency and accuracy of the appearance of labels going to distribution channels and customer markets. Can be improved. The CPD management system provides a centralized workspace that users can use to collaborate to design and create labels and other printed materials for new packaging, Cycle time can be reduced by facilitating the reuse of graphics. In addition, the CPD management system includes multiple features for applying multiple business rules and other constraints to automate the generation and verification of packaging materials, thereby ensuring regulatory compliance.

  In addition, the CPD management system allows customers to more easily control and manage packaging data, including various sizes, layouts and formats of output media on which the packaging data is printed. In particular, multiple output locations, such as multiple manufacturing sites and printing centers, receive the same packaging data and can therefore print the same labels and other printing materials for packaging materials and manufactured products. . The system also provides an efficient mechanism for rapidly transmitting changes throughout the organization.

  Another advantage of the CPD management system is its ability to support the transfer of products from one facility to another. In other words, since packaging data can be centrally managed, a company can transfer a product from one manufacturing facility to another without having to transfer labeling information. This process may be difficult with conventional desktop graphic design tools that run on multiple independent workstations.

  The CPD management system provides a revision control module for generating and maintaining packaging data. The system includes, for example, a mechanism for checking in and checking out packaging templates and graphics. The system can track label changes and provide revision history and other change information.

  Another advantage provided by the CPD management system is to support and facilitate "on-demand" printing systems by streamlining the delivery of packaging data to such systems when needed. In other words, when a company decides to manufacture a product, the packaging data can be quickly distributed to multiple printing systems, which allows the company to make any “just-in-time” manufacturing. And supply contracts and other business relationships in which the company can provide services. In addition, the system supports a “run time” field that requests information such as batch code, lot code, manufacturing data, serial number, etc. at the time of printing.

  The details of one or more embodiments of the invention are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the detailed description below. Other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

  FIG. 1 shows a system in which customers 6 interact with a central packaging data (CPD) management system 4 to easily manage packaging data and construct packaging data for application to a product 7 by a plurality of manufacturing facilities 8. 2 is a block diagram showing 2. FIG. More specifically, an authorized user of customer 6 interacts with CPD management system 4 via network 9 to generate a packaging label or other printed material for the manufactured product and to manage. A plurality of remote manufacturing facilities 8, printing centers 16 or other output locations interact with the CPD management system 4 via the network 9 when packaging the manufactured products for customer-approved labels. Search and read packaging data.

  The CPD management system 4 includes one or more data servers that provide packaging data hosting functions for customers 6. Examples of such data include packaging templates, graphics, regulatory compliance statements, translations, ingredient or ingredient lists, warnings, and other packaging data. The CPD management system 4 organizes the data while maintaining security to ensure that the data for one given customer among the customers 6 is inaccessible to any other customer 6. Configure.

  Customers 6 can interact with the CPD management system 4 to easily generate packaging materials while complying with requests from various parties including the regulatory agency 10, the delivery company 12, and the foreign customs office 14. it can. In other words, the CPD management system 4 ensures that the label or other packaging material associated with the product 6 complies with the specific requirements presented by the regulatory agency 10, the shipping company 12, and the foreign customs office 14. To provide a centralized intelligent system.

  The CPD management system 4 includes various features for applying a plurality of business rules and other constraint conditions for automating the generation and verification of the packaging material in consideration of the necessary conditions. For example, as detailed below, the CPD management system 4 provides an interface for defining and managing a plurality of rules, relationships, regulations and other constraints for controlling the creation and construction of packaging materials. . A host or other service provider associated with the CPD management system 4 can provide the customer 6 with a basic set of rules. In addition, customers 6 can interact with the interface to easily increase the set of rules provided by the service provider.

  Furthermore, the CPD management system 4 provides a template manager that allows customers 6 to easily select a packaging template for quickly building packaging data based on current requirements. The CPD management system 4 further includes a packaging rule engine that verifies the contents of any constructed labels and other packaging materials in view of current requirements. In this way, the CPD management system 4 is an intelligent packaging data warehouse with which the customer 6 interacts when creating, verifying and delivering packaging data for labels and other packaging materials associated with the product 6. I will provide a.

  Customers 6 can generally include any organization that manages packaging data for manufactured products. In this way, the CPD management system 4 can support customers 6 of all sizes ranging from individual businesses to large companies. For example, customer 6 may include a small business that outsources packaging to printing center 16, such as Wal-Mart Stores, Incorporated, Best Buy Company, Inc. .), Intel, Dell Computer Corporation, etc., can include large companies with multiple complex manufacturing facilities 8. Examples of the delivery company 10 include Federal Express, United Parcel Service, Airborne Express, and the like. Examples of the regulatory agency 10 include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the like.

  The CPD management system 4 allows the customer 6 to define and approve labels. This includes control of all the appearance and characteristics of the printed label, including size, layout, graphics, format, warning messages, etc., as well as control of the output media and printing device on which the label is printed. In this way, the CPD management system 4 allows the customer to more skillfully control the layout and appearance of the labels presented to the market from the manufacturing facility 6, printing center 16 or other output location. In particular, the CPD management system 4 ensures that customers 6 can easily and securely transmit their packaging data to their corresponding manufacturing facility 6 or other output location. As a result, the CPD management system 4 ensures for a given customer 6 that the same label and other packaging material can be printed at different output locations for the manufactured product 7. In addition, the customer 6 can use the CPD management system 4 to dynamically control the packaging material used during the manufacturing process.

  The CPD management system 4 can be used with any labeling device or system, and can be used to print labels or other media, or packaging materials such as foldable cartons, boxes, flexible films, etc. It can be used to print directly on the top. Similarly, as defined herein, packaging data can be used for a variety of packaging purposes including, for example, programming of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags attached to a product at the time of manufacture. For example, the RFID tag may be programmed with a lot code, date of manufacture, serial number, UPC code or other label data.

  Customers 6, regulators 10, deliverers 12, and foreign customs 14 may use a CPD management system 4 via network 9 to generate and manage packaging labels or other printed materials for manufactured products. You may have one or more users interacting remotely. The user may be a packaging engineer within the business unit, a plant operator within the manufacturing facility 8, an official within the regulatory agency 10 or foreign customs 14, a service representative within the delivery company 12, a graphic designer within the graphic design company 17, or a printing center. It can be any authorized individual, such as a customer service representative within 16, and may be geographically dispersed. By interacting with the CPD management system 4, the users 4 can also create, update, and archive packaging data as well as generate labels for manufactured products, as described below.

  A graphic designer in the business unit of the corporate customer 6 or in the graphic design company 17 can create custom graphics, for example, displaying the company's trademark for use on a label. The packaging engineer can use the CPD management system 4 to create multiple packaging templates and define multiple labeling strategies for various “packaging levels” of the product. As referred to herein, multiple packaging levels describe the packaging process that the product passes from the time the product leaves the production line to delivery. Designating a label as packaging level 1 may indicate, for example, that the label should be placed directly on the product itself. Designating a label at packaging level 3 may indicate that the label should be placed on a carton holding ten individual products. Designating the label as packaging level 6 may indicate that the label should be placed on a case packed with 12 cartons. Finally, designating the template as packaging level 8 may indicate that the label should be placed on a crate delivered with 200 cases. A plant operator in the manufacturing facility 6A can interact with the CPD management system 4 to retrieve and retrieve the label data and generate an appropriate label for a given product based on the packaging level. In addition, the service representative in the printing center 16 can execute mass printing of labels based on the packaging data retrieved and read from the CPD management system 4.

  Each user typically interacts with a computing device suitable for communication and interaction with the CPD management system 4 via the network 9. For example, a user can use a workstation, personal computer, laptop computer, or a Palm ™ organizer from Palm Inc., Santa Clara, California, or A personal digital assistant (PDA) such as a Windows CE (Windows CE) device can also be used. The communication device is a communication software, typically a web browser such as Internet Explorer (trademark) from Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Washington, in order to communicate with the CPD management system 4 Execute. Network 9 represents any communication link suitable for data communication, such as a wide area network, a local area network, or a global computer network such as the World Wide Web.

  By interacting with the CPD management system 4, customers 6 can establish a centralized label management process for their respective manufacturing facilities 8 and products 5 while maintaining security, thus a distributed process. The inherent redundancy and inefficiency can be eliminated. Users belonging to a given company can, for example, generate and manage standardized graphics, which allows the company to more consistently look at the distribution channel and the labeling going to the customer market. And can be accurate. As described below, customers 6 can control and manage the output media on which the labels are printed, as well as labels used in packaging and including various sizes, layouts and formats. This allows customers 6 to improve control of the packaging information delivered on the product 5 and / or along with their product 5 and presented to the market. In particular, for a given customer, multiple output locations such as multiple manufacturing facilities 6 and printing centers 16 and multiple delivery devices within one location receive the same packaging data, and therefore the packaging material and The same label and other printed matter can be printed for the manufactured product. As a result, by providing access to the CPD management system 4, label changes can be transmitted universally and instantaneously throughout the organization.

  One advantage of the CPD management system 4 is that it can support the transfer of products from one manufacturing facility 6 to another. In other words, since the CPD management system 4 centrally manages the packaging data, for example, the customer 6 does not need to transfer labeling information such as one or more digital files required for label rendering, It can be transferred from one facility to another. This process can be difficult with conventional desktop graphic design and labeling tools, typically running on a standalone workstation.

  Another feature of the CPD management system 4 is that it incorporates a revision control module for generating and maintaining packaging data, as described below. The CPD management system 4 may, for example, generate a label, approve the label for use by the manufacturing facility 6 or the printing center 14, and archive and label the label for later verification. And a revision control module for controlling packaging data throughout all stages of the process. The CPD management system 4 supports, for example, check-in and check-out procedures for controlling access to packaging templates, graphics, and overall packaging data. In addition, these features of the CPD management system 4 are useful for tracking label changes and providing revision history and other change information.

  The CPD management system 4 supports and simplifies the “on-demand” printing system by streamlining the method of delivering packaging data to the system when needed. In other words, if a company decides to manufacture a product, the packaging data can be quickly distributed to multiple printing systems so that the company can make any “just-in-time” manufacturing and It can satisfy supply contracts and other business relationships that the company provides services.

  The CPD management system 4 can charge the customer 6 for the use of the packaging data management service. The CPD management system 4 may, for example, serve the customers 6 based on the number of packaging records, the number of templates and the number of graphics, or any combination thereof recorded by each of the customers 6. You may charge a data warehouse fee. The CPD management system 4 may also charge a fee based on the number of accesses by users in multiple customers 6. In addition, the CPD management system 4 may charge a subscription (or subscription) service fee or charge a fee based on the quantity of printed labels.

  Instead, the CPD management system 4 may be provided as a value-added service combined with other services and packaging materials. For example, the service provided by the CPD management system 4 may be provided to the customer 6 together with the sale of the packaging material such as the packaging tape.

  FIG. 2 shows an example of an embodiment of a CPD management system 4 in which a customer 6 interacts to generate a packaging that complies with requests from various diverse parties such as receiving companies, regulatory agencies, delivery companies, foreign customs, etc. FIG.

  The web server 20 provides an interface used when the customer 6 communicates with the CPD management system 4 via the network 9. In one configuration, the web server 20 executes web server software such as Internet Information Server (trademark) from Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, Washington. Thus, the web server 20 provides an environment for interacting with customers 6 according to a plurality of software modules 21. These modules include Active Server Pages, Web pages written in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) or Dynamic HTML, Active X modules, Lotus scripts, Java scripts, Java applets, distributed component object modules (DCOM), etc. can be included.

  Although the software module 21 is illustrated as a “server side” software module that operates within the operating environment provided by the web server 20, a “client side” software module that operates on a computing device used by the customers 6. However, it can be easily mounted. The software module 21 can be implemented, for example, as an active X module executed by a web browser operating on a computing device.

  The software module 21 includes a template design tool 22, a template manager 24, a graphic design tool 26, a graphics manager 28, a management (Admin) module 30, a record manager 32, an output manager 34, an application programming interface (API) 36, and a template selection module. 37 and a number of modules including rule engine 38 may be included. The software module 21 interacts with the data server 40 to access data 42 that may include customer data 42A, templates 42B, packaging records 42C, configuration data (or configuration data) 42D, and packaging rules 42E. Data 42 can be stored in a variety of formats including data storage files or one or more database management systems (DBMS) running on one or more database servers. The database management system is a relational database management system (RDBMS), a hierarchical database management system (HDBMS), a multidimensional database management system (MDBMS), an object-oriented database management system (ODBMS or OODBMS), or an object relational database management system (ORDBMS). It may be. Data 42 can be stored in a single relational database, such as an SQL server from Microsoft Corporation, for example.

  Customer data 42A includes text, graphics for printing on labels or other packaging materials, or other data uploaded by customer 6. Examples of text data include warnings, raw material lists, tracking numbers, parts lists, translations, and the like. Graphics can include company graphics, such as trademarks, logos and other imagery, and are stored in any of a number of formats including, for example, JPEG, TIFF, GIFF, PDF, etc. It can be stored as individual image files.

  Template 42B stores a template for creating labels and other packaging associated with product 7, and typically describes the layout, format, and a predetermined number of fields. The packaging record 42C stores packaging data generated from the packaging template 42B by the customers 6. In particular, the packaging record 42C includes a record that associates packaging data, such as text, graphics, or other data, with the fields of the packaging template 42B. The configuration data 42D stores configuration data including, for example, authorized customers 6, user and company preference information, suitable output stock (substrate) for labels, and available printers. In addition, the configuration data 42D includes data defining the customer 6, the manufacturing site 8, and various packaging levels used during the manufacturing process.

  Template design tool 22 provides online design and layout functions to create packaging template 42B. In other words, the template design tool 22 provides a graphical user interface that the customers 6 can use when building a template. During this process, customers 6 typically define the size and layout of the template and possibly select a predetermined number of fields to capture packaging data at the time of printing. In particular, customers 6 define a template by selecting a field from a set of uniquely identified fields. If a particular field type is not available, customers 6 can create the desired field type to use in the current template and future templates. The template design tool 22 is illustrated and described as an online and web-based template design tool, such as CodeSoft (trademark), LabelView (trademark), etc. from Teklynx (trademark). Conventional label design software may be included and may run on a separate computing device.

  After creating the packaging template, customer 6 interacts with template manager 24 to “check in” the template to CPD management system 4. During this process, the template manager 24 parses the data generated by the template designer 22, typically a text file with embedded code defining a predetermined number of fields. Thus, the analyzed data is stored in the template 42B. During the check-in process, the user provides all the information necessary to classify the template, including the name of the packaging template, the appropriate customer 6 who may use the template, and the label. It includes the applicable market, the “trustee” of the template, and the corresponding packaging level (s) to which the template is to be applied. After describing the template, the user uploads the file generated by the template design tool 22 to the CPD management system 4, and the CPD management system 4 stores the file in the template 42B.

  Further, the customers 6 can interact with the template manager 24 to configure a plurality of packaging templates 42B hierarchically and systematically. In other words, the template manager 24 allows customers 6 to define and maintain one or more hierarchical relationships that systematically configure the plurality of packaging templates 42B. Each customer 6 can define each tier that systematically configures their respective packaging template and can customize the tier based on their needs.

  A hierarchy may include multiple levels, and each level may include multiple nodes corresponding to various packaging constraints and other criteria. For example, a hierarchy may be defined for criteria such as product line, industry, country of origin, destination country, selected shipping company, recipient, etc. Customers 6 "register" the newly created template by instructing template manager 24 to associate each template with each node of one of the hierarchies. As described in detail below, the record manager 32 provides an interface that can be used by customers 6 to search across multiple hierarchies to easily select an appropriate packaging template based on current requirements. To do.

  The graphic design tool 26 provides a web-based design tool for creating graphics such as company trademarks and logos. In other words, the graphic design tool 26 provides a graphical user interface that the customer 6 can use when building an image. Alternatively, user 18 may use Adobe Photoshop (trademark) from Adobe System Incorporated or Corel Draw (trademark) from Corel, Inc. Conventional graphic design software such as the above may be used.

  After creating the graphics for the company label, the customer 6 interacts with the graphics manager 28 to check in the graphics to the CPD management system 4. During this process, the customer 6 typically uploads a graphics file, such as a JPEG, GIF, TIFF, or PDF file, to the CPD management system 4, which then uploads the file to the graphics data storage device. Store in 42A.

  The administration module 30 provides an interface that is used when a user having authority such as a system administrator configures (or sets) the CPD management system 4. The system administrator can, for example, manage customer 6 accounts including access rights settings and define a number of company and user preference information. Examples of company preference information include translations in the desired language, signature fields, and recommended label stock. Examples of user preference information include approved printers for each user, as well as user access to module 21. The management module 30 allows the system administrator to define access rights for the customers 6 and control access to the various software modules 21. Thus, not all users can access all of the software modules 21. For example, the graphics designer may have access to the graphics designer software module 26 and the graphics manager 28, but the plant operator may only be given access to the output manager 34.

  In addition, the system administrator can interact with the management module 30 to define logical categories and hierarchies for characterizing and describing labels used in packaging and manufacturing. The system administrator can define categories such as, for example, markets, business units, and levels of packaging levels such as levels 1-8. In addition, the system administrator can define a predetermined number of label fields supported by the CPD management system 4.

  The record manager 32 allows the customer 6 to define a label or other printed material associated with the manufactured product based on the packaging template 42B, customer data 42A, and configuration data 42D. In other words, the customer 6 interacts with the record manager 32 to create a new packaging record 42C for the packaging material based on the packaging template 42B and enter text, graphics or other data in the template fields. To do.

  To create a packaging record, customer 6 first instructs record manager 32 to select packaging template 42. The record manager 32 can be used when the customer 6 traverses multiple hierarchies to easily select the appropriate packaging template based on current delivery requirements to facilitate this process. A simple interface. In particular, the record manager 32 incorporates decision tree logic for filtering packaging templates based on the hierarchy selected by the customer 6. As customer 6 traverses the hierarchy, record manager 32 selectively presents a set of packaging templates registered for the currently selected node in the tree. Thus, the record manager 23 allows the customer 6 to examine (drill down) the stored packaging data in detail and select an appropriate template to construct and output the packaging material. For example, the record manager 32 can request the customer 6 for information such as product line, country of origin, destination country, industry, delivery company, recipient, and the like. Record manager 32 presents a set of packaging templates 42B that meet the provided criteria.

  After selecting the template, the customer 6 interacts with the record manager 32 to enter text, graphics or other data in the template field and store the completed template as a new packaging record 42C. In particular, the record manager 32 provides an interface that can be used by the customer 6 to set various features and characteristics in the defined fields for the template. The user can, for example, enable “dynamic scaling” for text or graphic element fields to allow the CPD management system 4 to dynamically select the font size for the corresponding text, or the size of the graphic element. The entire text or graphic element can be displayed in the label field.

  During the process of building the packaging template 42B in the packaging record 42C, the record manager 32 causes the rules engine 38 to verify the contents of the packaging record. The rule engine 38 verifies the content of the record in consideration of the packaging rule 42E. The packaging rules 42E may represent specific restraint conditions, such as regulations by regulatory agencies, specific delivery company or recipient requirements, etc. Packaging rules 42E may be used to provide text including information such as comments or suggestions to customers 6 during the process of building packaging record 42C. For example, the packaging rule 42F states: “Verify that your packaging record contains a group code and the number of recyclings based on Germany, the destination country you have selected, and healthcare, the industry you have selected. . ”May be displayed.

  Each packaging rule can be associated with one or more fields of the packaging template 42B to control the application of the packaging rules 42E. As described above, the packaging template 42B is formed of a set of uniquely identified fields. The customer 6 interacts with the record manager 32 to define a packaging rule 42E for validating the packaging record 42C and relate the rule to one or more fields. If activated by the record manager 32 during the process of building a new packaging record 42C, the rules engine 38 selectively applies the packaging rules 42E to the fields of the new packaging record. More specifically, the rule engine 38 selects and applies the packaging rule 42E to the new packaging record based on the unique identifier of the field of the new packaging record.

  Similarly to the packaging template 42B, the packaging rules 42E may be configured hierarchically and systematically. Record manager 32 provides an interface for customer 6 to use in defining and maintaining one or more hierarchical relationships for organizationally configuring packaging rules 42E. Each customer 6 can define each hierarchy that systematically configures each of their packaging templates, and can customize the hierarchy based on their needs. Similar to packaging template 42B, customer 6 can define a hierarchy that includes multiple levels with nodes corresponding to various packaging constraints and other criteria. The customer 6 does not necessarily need to create a new hierarchy, but can use the common hierarchy to systematically configure both the packaging template 42B and the packaging rules 42F. The customer 6 “registers” the newly created packaging rule 42E by instructing the record manager 24 to associate each rule with each node in the hierarchy. A service provider or other host for the CPD management system 4 can provide a set of basic rules. Customer 6 can augment these rules with rules specific to each customer for validating packaging record 42C during construction.

  The record manager 32 manages the process of creating and maintaining the packaging record 42C by integrating formal control modules and procedures. The record manager 32 includes, for example, a revision control module for controlling the generation of the packaging record 42C from creation to approval and archiving. The record manager 32 supports, for example, a check-in and check-out mechanism for controlling access to packaging records, tracking changes to the records and providing revision history and other change information. Each packaging record has a corresponding state, such as draft, pending, approved, archived, obsolete, replaced.

  After the verification, the customer 6 changes the state of the packaging record from “draft” to “approved”. In response, the record manager 34 generates an electronic image of the label, such as a PDF (Portable Document Format) output, and archives the image with a time stamp. By storing a version of an image as a low-resolution “thumbnail image”, the user can easily identify the entire high-resolution image without having to read it out. The record manager 32 can assign an index and read at high speed by associating the archived label image with the data from the corresponding packaging record. In this way, the CPD management system 4 provides an intelligent packaging data warehouse where customers 6 interact to create, verify and deliver packaging data for labels and other packaging materials associated with products 6. To do.

  The output manager 34 controls all aspects of label printing. When customer 6 creates a template, inputs the template to CPD management system 4, creates a corresponding record for the template and fills in the fields of the template, output manager 34 indicates that the packaging record is a manufacturing facility. 6 or marked as available for printing at the print center 16. Only records having an approved status are “published” to the manufacturing facility 6, ie made available to the customer 6 via the output manager 34. This allows the customer 6 to manage data, add new labels, and update labels without worrying about the risk of one of the manufacturing sites 6 prematurely using unapproved labels. . As described below, during design, run-time fields can be added to the template, thereby causing the output manager 34 to display prompts for information when printing. Examples of runtime information include batch codes, lot codes, manufacturing dates, serial numbers, and the like. In one embodiment, the label management system stores run-time data as labels or other materials are printed for tracking and tracing purposes.

  An application programming interface (API) 36 provides a function of establishing a direct connection with an external computing device. The API 36 can be used to allow such devices to automatically control the CPD management system 4 or to automatically retrieve and retrieve data from such devices. For example, a front-end module such as a script or command line interface provided by a remote computing device can communicate directly with the API 36, for example, to bypass the interface provided by other software modules 21. In this way, the front end module can automatically interact with the CPD management system 4 to control the output. As a result, the API 36 can be useful when connecting to an in-company system and incorporating product information, for example. In addition, API 36 can be used to automatically provide runtime information for labels and other printed materials at the time of manufacture.

  The API 36 also allows the CPD management system 4 to directly access external data sources such as data sources for customers 6, regulatory agencies 10, delivery companies 12, and foreign customs 14. For example, the record manager 32 can call an API to retrieve and retrieve packaging data directly from a data source maintained by the customer 6.

  FIG. 3 is a flowchart showing a high-level overview according to an operation example of the CPD management system 4. Initially, a service provider of the CPD management system 4 or a system administrator of another host interacts with the management module 30 to configure the CPD management system (45). For example, an authorized user can add a new customer 6, set up a user account, and define preference information, access rights, and the like. In addition, the system administrator can create a hierarchy for organizing templates and rules together with a basic set of packaging templates 42B and packaging rules 42E. During this process, the CPD management system 4 can automatically access external data sources such as the regulatory agency 10, the delivery company 12, and the foreign customs 14 to retrieve and retrieve regulatory and compliance information (46 ). The CPD management system 4 updates the packaging rule 42E based on the collected information, thereby ensuring compliance with regulations.

  The user with customer 6 authority then interacts with the template design tool 22 and template manager 24 to generate additional packaging templates specific to each customer and register this new template in the defined hierarchy. (47). Similarly, the user interacts with the record manager to generate and register (48) additional packaging rules specific to each customer to validate their packaging record 42C. The user can also interact with the graphic design tool 26 and the graphics manager 28 to generate and manage company-approved graphics for printing on labels or other packaging materials (50).

  Next, the user interacts with the record manager 32 to create a new packaging record 42C by first selecting one of the packaging templates 42B. As described above, the record manager can invoke decision tree logic to filter and present a subset of the packaging template 42B based on the hierarchical structure of the template (52).

  After the user selects the template, the user constructs a new packaging record by filling in the various fields of the template with text, graphics or other packaging data (54). The record manager 32 receives input data from the user, retrieves and retrieves data from the database server 40, fills in the given fields, and one or more external databases via the API 36. The data can be retrieved and read out from. When the entry is complete or during the entry process, the record manager 32 calls the rules engine 38 and validates the contents of each field by applying the packaging rules 42E (56). Once verified by the record manager 32 and approved by the user, the record manager 32 permits access from the manufacturing facility 6 by marking the package record as “approved” (58). The remote manufacturing facility 6, printing center 16 or other output location interacts with the output manager 34 to securely search and retrieve packaging records 42C for the customer 6 and approved for the product 7 to be manufactured. A label or other material is printed (59).

  FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing another high level overview of the operation of the CPD management system 4. As shown in the figure, the user having the authority of the customer 6 interacts with the record manager 32 and selects one template from the plurality of packaging templates 42B. As described above, the record manager 32 can invoke decision tree logic to filter the packaging template 42B and present a subset thereof based on the hierarchical configuration of the template.

After the user selects the template, the user constructs a new packaging record 62 by entering text, graphics or other packaging data in the various fields of the template. To fill in a given field, the record manager 32 can retrieve and read input from customer data 42A stored in the warehouse by the CPD management system 4. In addition, the record manager 32 can retrieve and read customer data from an external data source such as a customer database.
In particular, each field in the packaging template may be mapped to an external data source in order to retrieve and retrieve the data directly. To facilitate data transfer, the record manager 32 may support a data source that conforms to Extensible Markup Language (XML) or other data description language.

  In addition, the record manager 32 can automatically access external data sources to retrieve and read regulatory and compliance information such as delivery data 64, regulatory data 65, and customs data 66. The record manager 32 can incorporate a portion of this data directly into the packaging record 62 as content to be printed on the packaging material. For example, the delivery data 64 may include instructions from a selected delivery company to be printed on a label or other packaging material. Further, the record manager 32 can update the packaging rule 42E based on the collected information. The rules engine 38 applies packaging rules to the contents of the newly created packaging record 62 to take into account information collected from the delivery data 64, regulatory data 65, customs data 66, or other external data sources, The above contents are verified in consideration of packaging rules specific to each customer or rules created by the service provider for the CPD management system 4. When verification is complete, the remote manufacturing facility 6 or other output location interacts with the output manager 34 to retrieve and read the packaging record 62 and print a label or other packaging material.

  FIG. 5 shows exemplary hierarchies 70 and 71 for systematically configuring the packaging template 22 and business rules 28 within the CPD management system 4. In this example, each example hierarchy 70, 71 comprises a three level hierarchy with a plurality of nodes. Packaging templates and business rules can be registered for any node, and templates and business rules are structured in a hierarchical manner for easy use.

  In particular, the hierarchy 70 defines a first level having a consumer node 72A, a second level having a retail store node 72B, and a third level having a Walmart node 72C and a target node 72D. Tier 70, for example, organizes packaging templates for delivering consumer products to various retailers, ie, retail stores at Walmart Stores Incorporated and Target Brands, Incorporated. It can be useful to configure

  The hierarchy 71 defines a first level having a health care (health care) node 73A and a second level having a distributor node 73B and a consumer node 73C. The hierarchy 71 further includes a third level having nodes 73D-73G for various destinations in the delivery. The hierarchy 71 is useful when systematically configuring a packaging template for delivery of products to various locations belonging to the health care industry. For example, packaging templates and business rules associated with various nodes in the hierarchy 71 may provide regulation information necessary for delivery of products related to health care, and may change depending on the destination.

  FIG. 6A is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary scheme 75 for storing data in the database server 40. In this example, scheme 75 represents a scheme for a relational database, such as Microsoft Corporation's SQL Server (SQL Server). Scheme 75 includes a number of related tables 77A-77H. Each table includes one or more columns (not shown) for storing data.

  The consumer data 42A can be stored in the product data table 77B and the graphic data table 77C. Product data table 77B includes a number of related tables that store information such as product identifier, version, product name, country of origin, product trademark, product description, translation, manufacturing location address, and the like. Also good. The graphic data table 77C may include a number of related tables that store graphic identifiers, graphics types and descriptions, and the like.

  The template and layout data table 77F may include a number of related tables that store packaging templates 42B and store template identifiers, template field identifiers, field types, table owners, and the like.

  The rule data table 77D stores data describing the packaging rule 42E applied by the rule engine 38. For example, the rule data table 77D stores a rule identifier and a field identifier, and associates the rule with data defining a specific field identifier, rule type, necessary condition or rule in the template and layout data table 77F. The requirements for a particular rule can be stored in a variety of formats, such as Boolean logic for the required package contents, syntax for a particular field, and an XML system that defines the contents.

  The following pseudo code is stored in XML format and shows an example of a set of business rules and information presented to the user.

[Equation 1]
<Business RulesList>
<Business Rules>
<Business Rules> * When selling to the education field, includes “not for resale”. </ BusinessinesRule>
<Business Rules> * To use I2 of 5 barcodes at this packaging level, the bar aspect ratio must be 5: 2. </ BusinessinesRule>
<Business Rules> * To use Latin American Spanish, standard terms need to be verified by Mexican Customs. </ BusinessinesRule>
<Business Rules> * The product description field must be Times New Roman to comply with company guidelines. </ BusinessinesRule>
≪Business Rules>
</ BusinessRuleList>

  The hierarchy data table 77E stores data describing various hierarchies that are created and maintained to organize and filter packaging templates and business rules. In particular, the hierarchical data table 77E stores node identifiers, node descriptions, data that correlates nodes hierarchically, and node types such as template nodes and business rule nodes. Further, the hierarchical data table 77E stores a template identifier for associating a node with the packaging template stored in the template and layout data table 77F and the business rule stored in the business rule data 77D.

  Product packaging level template data table 77A and product packaging level data table 77B describe the packaging template and relate to the various “packing levels” of the product, ie delivery from the time the product leaves the production line. Store information relating to the packaging level of the packaging process that passes by. These tables can store product identifiers, version numbers, packaging level (“pack level”) identifiers, translations, print locations for various levels, and the like.

  The output device data table 77H stores data for controlling the printing equipment in the manufacturing facility 8 and other output locations. For example, the output device data table 77H includes a table that stores device identifiers, device descriptions, printing locations, and the like.

  FIG. 6B is a block diagram illustrating an example of an embodiment of the rule data table 77D and the hierarchy data table 77E. In the illustrated embodiment, the rule data table 77D includes four tables. That is, a business rule table 78A that defines new rules and stores the text representation of each rule, a business rule field table 78B that associates rules with specific field identifiers of templates, and business rules that define different business rule types. A type table 78C and a business rule node table 78D for associating rules with nodes in the hierarchy defined in the node table 79 of the hierarchy data table 77E.

  FIG. 7 shows an example of a web-based user interface 80 presented by the template manager 24. An authorized user can check in the template to the CPD management system 4 by clicking the “Add” button 81, at which point the CPD management system 4 assigns a unique (unique) template ID 82. Automatically assign and initialize disclosure state 83 to “draft”. At that point, the user can assign a template name 84.

  The interface 80 provided by the template manager 24 supports logical categories defined by the company for managing templates across the customer 6. For example, when adding a new template, the user may mark the template as global so that the template is available throughout the company. Alternatively, the user may specify the packaging level, business unit and market for the template. The trustee 85 indicates a user who has the authority to change the checked-in template, and typically indicates the user who created the template using the graphic design tool 22.

  In many cases, as shown in the window 85, a certain template may be replaced with an old template (old template). A template size 87 such as 5 × 7 indicates the physical size of the template at the time of printing. All parameters and attributes acquired by the template manager 24 are stored in the CPD management system 4 and can be used later by the user via other software modules 21 including a record manager 32 and an output manager 34. The user can specify a print material for the label in window 88. As will be described later, when printing a label, the output manager displays recommended print materials to assist the operator. Finally, the user can attach the template file generated by the template designer 22 by entering the file name in the window 89.

  Search window 90 allows the user to find one of stored packaging templates 42B instead of creating a new template. After discovering the template, the user can change the parameters and select the “change” button 91. After the user finally finishes the template, the user can “approve” the template by selecting the “Approve” button 92 to mark the template as available.

  FIG. 8 shows an example of a web-based user interface 93 presented by the graphics manager 28. An authorized user can check in the graphics to the CPD management system 4 by clicking on the “Add” button 86 after filling in the various fields presented by the interface 93, at which time the CPD The management system 4 automatically assigns a unique graphic ID and initializes the graphic state to “draft”. Typically, the user assigns a graphic name 95, provides a short description 96, and provides a location 97 where the graphic file is located.

  After checking in the graphic, the user can change the data describing the graphic or update the image itself. Interface 93 provides a viewer 98 that can be used by the user to preview the image during the check-in and change process. After approving the graphic by selecting the “Approve” button 99, the graphics manager 28 changes the state to approved and records the approval date 100.

  9-14 show an example of a web-based user interface 101 presented by the record manager 32. FIG. In general, interface 101 is used by a user for products that are packaged and manufactured using packaging templates and graphics uploaded to CPD management system 4 by template manager 22 and graphics manager 28, respectively. Allows you to define labels. Referring to FIG. 6, the user interacts with the interface 101 presented by the record manager 32 to provide data for the fields of the selected template. The user can, for example, associate text, graphics or other data with the field.

  To create a packaging record, a user with access to the record manager 32 selects the “New Record” button 102, at which time the CPD management system 4 automatically assigns a unique label ID 103, and the record status 104 is initialized to “draft”. Unique label IDs are useful for complying with regulations, such as those found in the health care and pharmaceutical industries that require a labeling change management process that uses a single, unique control number for each label. is there.

  The user can also select and modify an existing packaging record. The interface 101 provides two types of mechanisms for selecting records. The user can traverse the logical categories defined for the CPD management system 4 by providing, for example, a company label ID 105, a packaging level 106, and a corresponding manufactured part or product 107. Can be explored. For a given company ID number 102, there may be a number of records covering various packaging levels. These records form an associated family that can share common data such as messages or warning text that must be displayed on the label for all packaging levels. A second way to find the label is to provide a unique label ID 103.

  In another embodiment, the record manager 32 displays a number of graphic thumbnail images from which the user selects a desired packaging template. The record manager 32 then displays the graphic associated with the selected packaging template as an image and overlays the corresponding field.

  The CPD management system 4 allows the user to control when the manufacturing facility 6 uses the updated label when creating the packaging record. This may be useful in industries subject to strict regulations where manufacturers are required to record specific points in time when labels change, such as in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. In particular, the user can classify records as “pass-through” or “non-pass-through”. If the updated label is designated as “pass-through type”, the output manager 34 immediately uses the updated label. When the user approves the pass-through packaging record, the old record is immediately replaced, and the label record for the old record is archived in a graphic format such as PDF, thereby creating a permanent record of the old label.

  For non-pass-through labels, the output manager 34 allows the manufacturing facility 6 to control when the updated packaging record is used in place of the replacement packaging record. This allows the manufacturing facility 6 to print the old label for a desired period of time, such as until the end of batch execution or the current inventory is used up. During this process, the CPD management system 4 automatically keeps duplicate packaging records in the packaging record 42C controlled by the company ID number. The manufacturing facility 6 can select when to replace the old record with the updated one.

  Interface 101 provides a number of data entry windows 108 for mapping information such as text and graphics to corresponding fields in the selected label template. In other words, the data entry window 108 is information that can exist on an approved company packaging label and is the logical element of information initially defined by a system administrator or other authorized user. I will provide a. In one embodiment, interface 101 displays only the fields that exist in the selected template. In this embodiment, the record manager 32 determines the fields defined for the corresponding packaging template and presents those fields in the data entry window 108. The data entry window 108 may require that input from the user meet the constraints defined in the template manager 24 during template creation. In this way, the template can control the number of characters and the format of each field.

  The product data entry window 108A captures product specific data for the selected packaging record and includes a main data entry window 110A for the product, an origin-address data entry window 110B, and a free text data entry window 110C. Contains three windows. As shown in FIG. 10, the origin-address data input window 110B allows the user to specify the country of origin 112 of the product, the translation 114 available for the label, and the manufacturer's address 116. With free text data, the user can add various messages such as “50% discount” or “Buy 1 free gift” to the label.

  FIG. 11 shows a packaging level data input window 108 </ b> B of the user interface 101. The packaging level data entry window 108B allows the user to identify the packaging level for the product to be manufactured. In particular, the user can define a quantity 120 of products within each packaging level 122 and define various features such as size and weight at each level. In addition, the user can select graphical icons representing components and containers for each packaging level. Window 124 provides a graphical display of the packaging process.

  FIG. 12 shows a template-partial data input window 108 </ b> C of the user interface 101. The template-partial data entry window 108C allows the user to identify the template 126 corresponding to the current packaging record, and the template-partial data entry window 108C graphically represents the label and the corresponding associated with the label. An image 128 that graphically represents the field 130 is displayed.

  FIG. 13 shows a graphics data entry window 108D of the user interface 101 that allows the user to assign graphics 132 to various fields 134 in the template. Graphics 132 may be any type of format including BITMAP, JPEG, TIFF, GIFF, EPS, etc.

  FIG. 14 shows a translation data entry window 108E of the user interface 101 that allows a user to select one or more languages 136 for labeling and enter translated text 138 in one or more fields. Thus, any text on the label can be written in multiple languages. In one embodiment, the CPD management system 4 is Unicode compliant and can easily support a wide range of character sets.

  Referring again to FIG. 9, once the user has completed the data entry process, the user can approve the label by selecting the “Approve” button 140. If approved, the record manager 32 generates an image of the resulting label as a PDF file or the like based on the graphics and other data associated with the selected label field. In addition, the record manager 32 records a visual representation of the authentic label that is available for use by the manufacturing facility 6 by archiving the image with a time stamp. By associating data from the current record with the archived image, the CPD management system 4 can be assigned an index and read at high speed.

  FIGS. 15-17 illustrate an example of a web-based user interface 140 provided by the output manager 34. In general, the interface 140 controls all aspects of label printing by the manufacturing facility 6. Referring to FIG. 15, a user such as a plant operator in one of the manufacturing facilities 6 first interacts with the data source selection window 142 to search and read the packaging data from the CPD management system 4 via the network 9. Or select whether to retrieve and read the packaging data from the local copy of the data storage device 42. This option is useful for continuing production even in situations where the network 9 is not available. In particular, the CPD management system 4 can store a copy of the contents of the data storage device 42 or a part thereof in each manufacturing facility 6 and a local server in the printing center 16.

  After selecting the data source, the user then uses the search window 144 to select the desired packaging record. In particular, the user can enter a unique label ID or enter a company ID and corresponding packaging level and part. Only packaging records that have an approved status are available to the user via the output manager 34. As a result, the business unit 4 can manage the packaging data, add a new label, and update the label without worrying about the risk of the manufacturing facility 6 prematurely using an unapproved label.

  As shown in FIG. 16, when the label is identified, the output manager 34 retrieves and reads the detailed data of the label from the packaging record 42C and displays the data in the window 146. The interface 140 displays this information in a non-editable format for verification by the user. In addition, interface 140 displays optional runtime fields 148, such as fields 150 and 152, for capturing data such as, for example, lot numbers and batch codes. The plant operator then selects a quantity 150 and an available printer 152. As described above, the output manager 34 controls the list of available printers 152 based on the access settings in the configuration data 42D.

  As shown in FIG. 17, by looking at the approved label window 154 of the output manager 34, the printed label or other packaging material is verified in comparison with the approved packaging record archived by the record manager 32. Capabilities are provided. More specifically, the user can typically print a single label and compare the printed label against the archived image displayed on the view screen 156. Matching against archived labels is more accurate than performing print previews that are generally available in conventional systems. A print preview simply displays the packaging record that is about to be printed, as opposed to displaying a genuine approved version. This feature may be particularly useful in regulated industries. When the user collates the labels, the user selects a print mode and quantity and prints them individually, continuously, or a combination thereof. Alternatively, the user may store the generated label in a computer readable file in various formats such as EPS or bitmap. The user may then deliver the generated label to an advanced printing service to perform large batch printing.

  FIG. 18 shows two example labels 162 and 164 generated by the output manager 34 at an output location, such as one of the manufacturing facilities 6. Each label 162, 164 includes various text and graphics associated with each packaging template field by a corresponding packaging record.

It should be taken into account that screen shots or other drawings will be added to illustrate the interface for filling in the template in detail and editing / creating rules specific to each customer.

  Various implementations and embodiments according to the invention have been described. For example, a management system has been described for generating and managing packaging labels or other printed materials for manufactured products. System components can be implemented by server-side components, client-side components, or combinations thereof. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the invention. Accordingly, these and other embodiments are within the scope of the appended claims.

1 is a block diagram illustrating an example of a centralized packaging data (CPD) management system that provides packaging data hosting functionality for multiple customers. FIG. It is a block diagram which shows the CPD management system of FIG. 1 in detail. It is a flowchart which shows the high-level outline | summary which concerns on the operation example of a central management system. FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating another high level overview of the operation of the CPD management system. It is a figure which shows the example of the hierarchy which comprises a some packaging template and a some business rule in a CPD management system systematically. It is a block diagram which shows the example of the system which memorize | stores the packaging data for several customers in a database server. It is a block diagram which shows the example of embodiment of a rule data table and a hierarchy data table. FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating an example of a web-based user interface presented by a template manager. FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating an example of a web-based user interface presented by a graphics manager. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a web-based user interface presented by a record manager. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a web-based user interface presented by a record manager. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a web-based user interface presented by a record manager. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a web-based user interface presented by a record manager. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a web-based user interface presented by a record manager. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a web-based user interface presented by a record manager. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a web-based user interface presented by an output manager. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a web-based user interface presented by an output manager. FIG. 4 illustrates an example of a web-based user interface presented by an output manager. It is a figure which shows the example of the label produced in a certain output place by the label management system 4 according to this invention.

Explanation of symbols

2 ... System,
4 ... Central packaging data (CPD) management system,
6 ... customer,
7 ... Product,
8 ... Manufacturing equipment,
9 ... Network,
10 ... Regulatory authorities,
12 ... Delivery company,
14 ... Foreign customs,
16 ... Printing center,
17 ... Graphic design company,
20 ... Web server,
21 ... Software module,
22 ... Template design tool,
24 ... Template manager,
26 ... Graphic design tools,
28 ... Graphics manager,
30 ... management (Admin) module,
32 ... Record manager,
34 ... Output manager,
36 ... Application programming interface (API),
37 ... Template selection module,
38 ... Rule engine,
40 ... Data server,
42 ... data,
42A ... customer data,
42B ... packaging template,
42C, 62 ... packaging record,
42D: configuration data,
42E ... packaging rules,
64 ... delivery data,
65 ... Regulation data,
66 ... Customs data,
77A ... Product packaging level template data table,
77B ... Product packaging level data table,
77C ... Graphic data table,
77D ... rule data table,
77E ... Hierarchical data table,
77F ... Template and layout data table,
77H: Output device data table,
78A ... business rule table,
78B ... business rule field table,
78C ... Business rule type table,
78D ... business rule node table,
79 ... node table,
80, 101, 140 ... user interface,
162,164 ... labels.

Claims (31)

  1. A set of packaging records and associated packaging data for multiple products;
    A system comprising a rule engine that verifies the packaging record and associated data according to a set of rules.
  2. The system further comprises a record manager for controlling creation and modification of the packaging record by a plurality of customers,
    The system of claim 1, wherein the record manager includes a user interface for updating the set of rules.
  3.   3. The system according to claim 2, wherein the record manager includes an interface for retrieving and reading data from an external database, and updates the set of rules based on the retrieved and retrieved data.
  4.   The system according to claim 3, wherein the record manager searches and reads the restriction data from a regulatory agency, and updates the set of rules for verifying the packaging record based on the restriction data.
  5.   4. The system according to claim 3, wherein the record manager searches and reads delivery data from a delivery company and updates the set of rules for verifying the packaging record based on the delivery data.
  6.   4. The system according to claim 3, wherein the record manager reads customs data from a foreign customs and updates the set of rules for verifying the packaging record based on the customs data.
  7.   4. The system of claim 3, wherein the interface retrieves and reads data from a database compliant with extensible markup language (XML).
  8.   The system of claim 1, further comprising an output manager that receives input from a plurality of customers and transmits the packaging record to an output center that prints packaging material associated with different products based on the input.
  9. A hierarchically related set of reusable packaging templates having data fields for storing packaging data;
    Based on the hierarchical relationship of the packaging templates, selectively presenting a subset of the packaging templates to the user and selecting one of the presented packaging templates in response to input from the user. The system according to claim 1, further comprising a record manager that creates a new packaging record.
  10.   The system of claim 9, further comprising a medium storing a hierarchically related set of nodes and data associating each of the set of packaging templates with at least one of the nodes.
  11.   11. The system of claim 10, further comprising a template manager that presents an interface for creating a new packaging template and associates the new packaging template with the nodes of the hierarchy.
  12. A set of packaging records and associated packaging data for multiple products for multiple customers;
    A set of reusable packaging templates having data fields for creating the packaging records in response to customer input;
    A medium comprising a set of rules for verifying the packaging record.
  13. A set of hierarchically related nodes;
    13. The medium of claim 12, further comprising data associating each of the packaging templates with at least one of the nodes.
  14.   The medium of claim 13, further comprising data associating each of the rules with at least one of the nodes.
  15.   13. The medium of claim 12, wherein the rules are compliant with a data description language.
  16. A template manager software interface that creates and manages a set of reusable packaging templates for multiple customers, and registers the packaging templates for nodes in a hierarchy defined by the customer to organize the packaging templates A template manager software interface,
    A record manager software interface for creating and managing a set of packaging records based on the packaging template, wherein a subset of the packaging template is provided to the customer in response to input from the customer selecting a node of the hierarchy. A system with a record manager software interface to present.
  17.   In response to input from the customer who has selected the node of the hierarchy, the subset of the packaging template is presented to the customer and the subset of packaging records is accessed to print the packaging material for the product. The system of claim 16 further comprising an output manager software interface.
  18.   The system of claim 16, further comprising a web server that presents the template manager software interface and the record manager software interface to a remote customer.
  19.   The system of claim 16, further comprising a rule engine that validates the packaging record according to a set of rules.
  20.   20. The system of claim 19, wherein the record manager software interface automatically retrieves and reads the prerequisite data from an external database and automatically updates the set of rules based on the prerequisite data.
  21.   21. The system of claim 20, wherein the requirement data comprises delivery data, regulatory data, and customs data.
  22. Hierarchically relating a set of reusable packaging templates with data fields;
    Selectively presenting a subset of the packaging template to the user based on the hierarchical relationship of the packaging template;
    Selecting one of the presented packaging templates in response to input from the user;
    Generating a packaging record associating packaging data with a field of the selected packaging template.
  23.   23. The method of claim 22, further comprising printing a packaging material at one of a plurality of output locations based on the packaging record.
  24. Hierarchically relating the packaging templates above
    Presenting an interface to the user to define a hierarchy having multiple levels and multiple nodes;
    23. The method of claim 22, comprising associating each of the packaging templates with at least one of the hierarchy nodes.
  25.   23. The method of claim 22, wherein generating a packaging record includes validating the packaging record and associated packaging data according to a set of rules.
  26. To verify the packaging record above,
    Determining a field identifier for the field of the packaging template;
    Selecting a rule for each field based on each identifier of the field;
    26. The method of claim 25, comprising applying the selected rule to the packaging data associated with the field by the packaging record.
  27.   26. The method of claim 25, further comprising updating the set of rules in response to input from a customer.
  28. Retrieving and reading the prerequisite data from an external database;
    26. The method of claim 25, further comprising updating the set of rules based on the requirement data.
  29.   The requirement data includes at least one of delivery data that defines the requirements of the delivery company, customs data that defines the requirements for delivery to foreign countries, and regulatory data that defines the requirements for compliance with government agencies. 30. The method of claim 28.
  30. An online packaging data management system,
    Means for centrally storing packaging templates and packaging records for multiple customers;
    Means for associating packaging data with the packaging template;
    Means for verifying the packaging record and associated packaging data in accordance with a set of rules defining packaging requirements;
    Means for controlling updates to the packaging template and the packaging record;
    Means for printing the packaging material at the output location in accordance with the packaging record.
  31. The label data management system according to claim 30, further comprising means for hierarchically arranging the packaging templates and rules.
JP2004512047A 2002-06-10 2003-05-20 Centralized management of packaging data using rule-based content verification Granted JP2005529411A (en)

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US20030229543A1 (en) 2003-12-11
AU2003233593A1 (en) 2003-12-22

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